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koenliekensdotcom

Interview with Koen Liekens

Interviews

05 August 2016

Posted by Anna Fraser

Hi Koen! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

From the of age 25 to 30, I was lucky enough to be an expat across Europe, Asia and Africa! It was simply too hard not to document parts of those experiences. I moved to Belgium more recently, where I work in business development and also have my own (small) company. For the latter, I shoot and publish thematic photobooks to support local tourism.

QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

AThe moment a 10 year old blue-purple boy was about to spray paint my lens in Mathura, India. Rather than appearing extraterrestrial, he was coloured with spring happiness. Luckily, his enthusiasm for the evocative annual ‘Holi’ festival was no match for my plastic-bag-wrapped camera and rapid ‘bob and weave’ moves. No cameras were hurt - though that lens died a few months later - and the photo became the editor’s pick for the National Geographic daily dozen. To remind myself to keep travelling and mixing with other cultures, I still use that photo on my business cards.

QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

AI use pretty affordable semi-professional equipment, a Nikon D7000 at the moment, with 3 to 4 lenses ranging from 8mm to 200mm. It’s simple but performs well, and has 2 card slots. My favourite lens is a 8mm fish-eye. Just like a good macro lens (on my wish list), it never ceases to amaze me how much more it can absorb than the naked eye.

QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

AYou can have twelve photographers looking at the same object differently. Build on this uniqueness as the core of your personal journey. Whether from a commercial or creative perspective, do not try to be the same!

My favourite pic must be 'Cyclist race'. I'm grateful that some of Belgium’s municipalities have welcomed my initiative to promote their region through photobooks. One of the ph... Read more

My favourite pic must be 'Cyclist race'. I'm grateful that some of Belgium’s municipalities have welcomed my initiative to promote their region through photobooks. One of the photos featured in my latest book displays the Belgian Cup, that coincidentally took place in one the featured towns that year. Cycling is a national sport and a stronghold in the hearts of many Belgians. People appreciate how they can see, touch and speak with the athletes relatively easily, giving it a welcoming ‘down to earth’ approach. Read less

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Koen Liekens

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While I am not into road cycling per se, last year the universe pushed me into it photographically. I have quite a few friends that race an amateur 24hr event on a Belgian circu... Read more

While I am not into road cycling per se, last year the universe pushed me into it photographically. I have quite a few friends that race an amateur 24hr event on a Belgian circuit, where normally only high-performance cars are there to impress the crowd. One of my best friends couldn’t be a contestant that year, due to a wedding we were both attending. Around 5 am and after a few drinks, however, he couldn’t resist the calling of his favourite sport, and dragged me to the event anyway. We slept a few hours in the car in our tuxedos, before taking out the camera. Magically, the photos came out nicely. Read less

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Koen Liekens

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Quite a few friends of mine cycle. Even among the amateurs, I am always impressed by the leg (and less visibly – lung) strength required!

Quite a few friends of mine cycle. Even among the amateurs, I am always impressed by the leg (and less visibly – lung) strength required! Read less

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Koen Liekens

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My girlfriend used to be a flight attendant, a job she still misses. After a long hike in the countryside, I thought we’d stop by one of the landing strips of Brussels airport t... Read more

My girlfriend used to be a flight attendant, a job she still misses. After a long hike in the countryside, I thought we’d stop by one of the landing strips of Brussels airport to cherish her fond memories together. I remember the times I used to come to this airport as a kid, waiting for family members for over six, eight, nine hours. In the late 80s, that was normal. We should be grateful of how convenient air travel (and its economics) have become! Read less

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Koen Liekens

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My expat job took me through 11 countries in roughly five years. Of all places across several continents, South Africa impressed me the most. Earlier this year, there was an art... Read more

My expat job took me through 11 countries in roughly five years. Of all places across several continents, South Africa impressed me the most. Earlier this year, there was an article in National geographic magazine promoting the positive impact of nature on our brains. Seeing the magnificence of nature and the animal kingdom, for instance through this beautiful African elephant, is an imminent reminder of the need to conserve our planet for thousands of generations to come. Read less

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Koen Liekens

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